It’s the Diversions Grinch, and I’m here to smash your love of holiday music to smithereens.
That’s right. If you don’t turn off that Michael Bublé rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” right now, I will enact some kind of yuletide violence on your car stereo.
But seriously, this is a qualm that comes up every year at this exact time. It’s the queasiness that comes over me when I flip to the oldies station and realize that I will hear nothing but Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole for the next month and a half. It’s the way I can’t walk through CVS without running into an inflatable candy cane, reindeer chocolates and an animatronic Santa Claus when all I really want is some ibuprofen.
I won’t fight you on good cheer for mankind and all that mess, because hey, who doesn’t like peppermint shots in their hot chocolate and being hit on by mall elves. The real problem is Christmas music. Admittedly, I have a (well-curated, selective) iTunes playlist whose song titles feature the words “Santa,” “Snowflakes,” and “Merry,” but nowhere on that roster will you find Brenda Lee or Josh Groban.
Maybe I’m missing the whole point of all this. Maybe the fact that people whose tastes normally skew toward the sophisticated start blasting She & Him’s holiday record — which ought to come packaged with some shaggy bangs and a button that says “Oh hey I’m twee” — is really a sign that there can be peace on earth, that people can come together for a few months each year over the simplest of pleasures. And yes, emphasis on “simple.”
I’m not a bad person, honest. It’s just that I don’t understand why people make exceptions for music with flutes and elf references and abundant sweetness, especially when, in normal seasons, these folks are thrashing to death metal or Bright Eyes.
But I’ll concede a silver lining. There are a few choice songs that would be good enough to join the ranks of a holiday-unaffiliated iTunes. It’s hard to beat Kanye’s “Christmas in Harlem,” even if you’re putting it up against . If you’re trying to go local, and maybe even a little earnest, you could look to , last year’s compilation featuring Josh Moore, Mandolin Orange, Skylar Gudasz and several others.
I don’t always hate Christmas, even though I’m a December baby, and therefore kind of shafted on the present front. I just hate the music, and my minimal level of Christmas cheer can only be restored by a total ban on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Bah Humbug indeed.
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